Northeast Italy 2013

Verona - Central Veneto

Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini

 

Verona is a large city that developed early because it was at the intersection of major roads and on the river Adige.  The original Roman settlement was in the Piazza Bra where the arena was built in 30 AD.  While only a fragment of the original perimeter wall remains, the arena will seat 25,000  in 44 tiers of marble seats.  The arena has been hosted many kinds of performances, from gladiators to operas

Many important Roman and historical monuments made Verona a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  An original bridge, Roman city walls, a theater and the Arco di Gavi have survived.  After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, Verona maintained its status as a capital though vulnerable to invasion from the north.  In the 8th century, it was the residence of Charlemagne’s Kings of Italy.

A massive earthquake in 1117 led to significant rebuilding in the Romanesque style. The Verona Cathedral (Duomo) was consecrated in 1187  and altered in the centuries that followed.  Its construction of alternating tracks of brick and stone was typically Italian at that time.  The columns inside are red Verona marble. 

The Castelvecchio is the most important monument of medieval civil architecture in Verona.  It was built by Cangrande II, one of the Scaligeri that governed the area for the Holy Roman Empire (1260-1387).  With the bridge over the Adige, it was his home and fortress in the 14th century.  It now contains Verona’s Museo d’Arte. 

San Zeno Maggiore, one of the most important Romanesque churches in Italy, was built in the 12th century over the ruins of 5th and 9th century churches.  It encloses the tomb of San Zeno, the 4th century bishop of Verona and its patron saint.  The work of the master sculptors Nicolo and Guglielmo enlivens its exterior.

Inside San Zeno, the 48 panels of the  12th century inner bronze doors depict the life of San Zeno and Bible scenes.  The walls of the nave and sanctuary are decorated by many Romanesque-Gothic frescos.  The graffiti in them from the 16th century is notable.  Over the high altar is a Mantegna triptych, while the tomb is below.

The Scaligeri were princes who extended their power, conquered and bought territory to enhance their dominions. They have been called “cruel, dissolute tyrants”,  as well as  “ruthless warrior, tyrannical overlord, and cultured patron of the arts”.  A favored name, Cangrande, translates to “big dog” while another, Mastino means “mastiff”.  The Arche Scaligere are the elegant Gothic tombs they built between their palace and the family’s church.

Verona lost independence and submitted to Venice in 1405.  In the 18th century, it became an Austrian territory and in 1866, it became part of Italy.  It continued to be important politically and economically.  The architecture of the palazzi and piazzi such as the Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori are lively and attractive places that attract busloads of visitors. 

Crowds visit the houses of Romeo and Juliet and leave messages and momentos.  The tragic love story is set in Verona.  It was written by Luigi da Porto of Vicenza in the 1520‘s and retold in Shakespeare;s play in the 1590’s. 

The photographs were taken with Leicas, the M8 and M9.  All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.  We can be contacted at fogler.mancini@sbcglobal.net.   Our home page is http://www.fogler-mancini-photos.com/Home/Fogler-Mancini_Home.html

January 23, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                    wgfm                    

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